North Central Circuit
This exciting route journeys to six of the Galápagos Islands, starting with the archipelago’s northernmost, Genovesa (“Tower”) Island. Prepare to saturate memory cards with prize-worthy images of red-footed boobies, great frigate birds and short-eared owls. Home to more than 30 species, this “Bird Island” lives up to its nickname, and these fearless feathered friends have no qualms about introducing themselves and invading your personal space. You’ll also have the opportunity to snorkel the surrounding waters of Bahia Darwin (Darwin Bay) on the lookout for schools of vibrantly colored tropical fish and hammerhead sharks.
On Santiago Island, you’ll traverse the craggy lava-hewn coastline of Sullivan Bay, hiking across ethereal remnants of previous lava flows. Then, you’ll hop onto the zodiac, keeping an eye out for curious penguins and possibly whales on your way to the stunning red-rock landscapes of Rábida Island to search for Darwin’s finches and snorkel among fur seals, marine iguanas and reef sharks.
At Gardener Bay on Española Island, venture under the sea with the prolific sea lion population before visiting the nesting colonies of waved albatross at Punta Suárez. You’ll end the trip on the island of Santa Cruz, patronizing the Charles Darwin Research Station and honing your photography skills on the wild giant tortoises roaming the rolling hills.